There are only 17 methods to divide the two dimensional surface into true tessellations. These 17 rules were derived from the observation and study of crystallography, a long time ago. They are the basis for many other disciplines as well, wallpaper designs, fabric design, wrapping paper, ceramic tiles… But my passion lies with classic tessellations, where the same odd shapes repeat to fill a surface with an absolutely tight perfect fit. Well, I try, anyhow.

The Tofino Hitchhiker was built using this P2 symmetry system.

### Symmetry Group P2

I’ve come to call this symmetry group the “triple whip”. The system is based on a four sided grid, which can be skewed into lozenges, parallelograms. Each of the corners has a two-fold rotation point. One of them, slightly special. If three lines are drawn from that corner, each to one other corner, a perfectly repeating shape is formed. I look at these, I’ve drawn them, but can never quite put it into words as well. The triple whip drawing below, explains it better. Note, rotation point R2, has the 3 whips extending to the other 3 corners. No mirrors or glides here, so your lines can wander over the parallelogram’s delineation.

The Hiker image below, when zoomed-out, plainly shows the parallelogram, helped by the horizontal belt and hiking pole of course. Rotation points occur at his right hand, left SO4 watch, top of one boot and bottom of the other. See the 6 red dots. Two of the parallelograms are required to translate the full figure. I’ve read another explanation, where a parallelogram has 4 two-fold rotation points, midway on each side and a fifth two-fold rotation in the middle. But that just confuses me.

Twelve symmetry groups explained and illustrated to date. I have a bit more work to do, 5 more groups. Till then,

Lots of software out there to help you accomplish this type of design.

- An iPad app is available, which is what I have used here to create these images: KaleidoPaint by Jeff Weeks.
- There is also a java-based program “Escher Web Sketch” at the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne. Make sure Java is enabled and not blocked by your security software.
- Also, another screen-based software by Anselm Levskaya Escher Sketch v2.
- Or a pair of scissors and a piece of cardboard works quite well. That’s how I learned.

Comments are always welcome!

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